Jazz Fusion

Artist: 
Thundercat
Label: 
Brainfeeder

Drunk is Thundercat’s third studio album.

Sounds Like: 
Flying Lotus
Sounds Like: 
Kamasi Washington
Name: 
Brandon Serrano
Date Reviewed: 
04/12/2017
Artist: 
Metalwood
Label: 
Cellar Live

Metalwood's name is arguably deceptive considering that they are a Canadian jazz band consisting of four white dudes. Well, maybe the white dude aspect isn't that surprising, but hey. Life. Twenty is supposed to be a comeback album. Though I am admittedly not familiar with Metalwood's previous works, a review from Coastal Jazz asserts that this is their best album to date. I must say, Metalwood has their own sound. It is tight.

Sounds Like: 
Weather Report
Sounds Like: 
Return to Forever
Name: 
Melanie Zelikovsky
Date Reviewed: 
09/06/2016
Artist: 
Snarky Puppy
Label: 
Ground Up

My first exposure to Snarky Puppy was by watching their live recording of "Lingus."It was newschool funk music and very, very good stuff--instrumental, complex, thoughtful, and performed at such a high level it was both awe-inspiring and fundamentally terrifying as a musician. So that's what I expected coming into Family Dinner Vol. 2. Little did I know what the album actually had in store for me. This live-recorded album is an amalgamation of soul, Latin, African,and, on the plainly bizarre second disc, Indian, folk, and punk music. That is a lot to squeeze into an album.

Sounds Like: 
Like a much larger Roy Hargrove
Name: 
Cullen Walsh
Date Reviewed: 
05/04/2016
Artist: 
AMP Trio
Label: 
Self-Released

The AMP Trio has come together in their 2015 release to bring us some very intelligent, chill, upbeat jazz. The conservative bass, running and flowing piano lines, and intricate but delicate drums give the album a very soft atmosphere. Though as you listen through it is apparent that the group pulls heavily from free jazz ideas for their composition, the tone of their work is loungey. Though that isn't my particular taste in jazz, I can certainly appreciate both the skill and intelligence that goes into each of their songs.

Sounds Like: 
Mary Lou Williams, but more free jazz
Sounds Like: 
John Coltrane arrangements, minus the strong sax
Name: 
Cullen Walsh
Date Reviewed: 
03/02/2016
Artist: 
Glenn White
Label: 
Armored Records

After noticing titles like "Cuddlah 4 Life" and "Everybody Loves A Doughnut", I was looking forward to making fun of a joke CD. But Glenn White tricked me. Quirk is actually a pretty solid jazz fusion set. Each song sticks to a late-night smooth jazz style with either an impressive guitar solo or an experienced saxaphone emphasis. Jazz isn't exactly my preferred music but this EP reeled me in like a fish without fins. If you have a jazz show and are looking to introduce your listeners to the genre, consider this a gift from Glenn White.

Sounds Like: 
Snarky Puppy
Sounds Like: 
Kamasi Washington
Name: 
Henry Jensen
Date Reviewed: 
02/24/2016
Artist: 
BADBADNOTGOOD & Ghostface Killah
Label: 
N/A

One of the most surprising collaborations that has come about recently is the union of Wu-Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah and Canadian jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD, but if the singles that have been released are any indication, the album is going to be a treat. Ghostface has been known for his propensity to venture out of his comfort zone and collaborate with non-traditional producers, and BBNG was an excellent choice. The instrumental that backs "Ray Gun" would have sounded as a song itself, but the inclusion of Ghostface and the legendary DOOM put this track over the top.

Sounds Like: 
Adrian Younge + Ghostface
Name: 
André Pettman
Date Reviewed: 
01/16/2015
Artist: 
Flying Lotus
Label: 
Warp Records

Wow. A Left-Field Hip-Hop - Jazz Fusion expression of existential angst and beauty- a dark audial inquiry into the very meaning and nature of (im)mortality. Again, wow! Flying Lotus, the producer-identity of composer Steven Ellison, is back with his unconventional harmonizations, surreal tones, and existential themes, this time diving a little deeper into the jazz influence and metaphysical philosophical themes he is known to incorporate into his experimental Hip-Hop base.

Sounds Like: 
DJ Shadow
Sounds Like: 
J Dilla
Name: 
Dominic Medina
Date Reviewed: 
10/16/2014
Artist: 
Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band
Label: 
Blue Note Records

While Landmarks is only the fifth album led by him, Brian Blade has had a fairly sizable output as a jazz musician over the past twenty or so years. On this album, accompanied by his Fellowship Band, Blade creates pieces that are both structurally and sonically unique and highly enjoyable. The first track, "Down River," is a short ambient piece and it sets the tone for both the sound and atmosphere of the album as well as the album's roughly alternating pattern of short interludes and full-length pieces.

Sounds Like: 
John Coltrane
Sounds Like: 
Thelonious Monk
Name: 
Jake Calegari
Date Reviewed: 
04/29/2014
Artist: 
B.D. Lenz
Label: 
Lenz/Jade Buddah Records

If the dummy series every made a “Jazz Fusion for Dummies” book, this CD would be the perfect accompaniment. Not content with being stuck with his Jazz Fusion guitar however, B.D. Lenz makes a move that is as mysterious as his gaze. He covers the Bee Gee’s classic “How Deep is Your Love” and ends his album with some flamenco guitar. Ready or not, you are not ready for those curve balls that he throws at you with no mercy.